FULLERTON, Calif. -- With several key conference matches looming, Azusa Pacific did not lose focus on its task at hand. Fresh off a sweep of The Master’s, the Cougars beat Hope International, 3-0, in Golden State Athletic Conference play, Tuesday night, at the Darling Pavilion, in Fullerton, Calif.
The No. 11-ranked Cougars (13-3, 5-2) defeated the Royals 30-17, 30-22, 30-17 to win their second consecutive match with a showdown with No. 9-ranked Concordia on the horizon.
“We had good practices yesterday and last week,” said head coach Chris Keife. “This was a whole team win and we’re looking forward to getting back into the gym on Thursday.”
The off day for the Cougars comes on the heels of an impressive showing. Freshman Megan Burch led Azusa Pacific with 14 kills. Jenny Brickner and Jessica DeJager added 10 kills apiece with DeJager also recorded 11 digs.
The Cougars outhit the Royals .315-.118 while tallying 23 more kills. Defensively, Azusa Pacific had 17 more digs than Hope International, including a match-high 20 by Brittany Brown.
Only now, with this match behind them, can the Cougars turn their attention to Concordia, a team they were 0-3 against last season. However, the final match, in the opening round of the Region II playoffs, was a close battle.
“We need to continue to focus on the little things,” Keife said. “We want to focus on what we are doing as a team and only be worried about what is happening on our side of the floor.”
Keife, who spent 2003 as the head coach of Hope International, continues to lead the Cougars to their best start through 16 games since 2000.
Azusa Pacific will be back on the court Saturday, Oct. 1, when they face the Eagles in Irvine, Calif., at 7 p.m.